You've Been Warned: Your Kids Will Change A Lot When They Become Teens

Originally Published: 
teens change be prepared

I didn’t see it coming, the change that seemed to happen overnight when my oldest was on the cusp of his teen years. At first I thought maybe something was wrong. Perhaps there was something going on at school I needed to know about. I peppered him with questions, trying to dig into his life and all I did was stir some dust around.

He was quiet, seemed angry, no longer cared about getting a Happy Meal or going on a bike ride with me.

The time he spent in his room tripled. The little boy who was curious, couldn’t stop talking, and loved family get-togethers was gone. I really struggled the year my son changed. I felt like I didn’t know how to parent him anymore. I missed who he was; I missed who we were. That was six years ago. My son is now almost nineteen and this quiet young man is here to stay.

I watched the same thing happen to my daughter who is two years younger than him. Shopping trips or getting gelato were no longer fun for her. Suddenly her desire to please me by helping out around the house or crafting was replaced by visions of the back of her head every time I tried to talk to her. Instead of dressing up and loving the color pink, she wore hoodies and dark makeup. She wanted to dye her hair different colors and get lots of piercings. Her change of taste was fine with me. I want my kids to have autonomy and be their own person. But it was sudden and drastic. What I really struggled with was the silence. Instead of wanting to dress like me, it was as if she was doing everything in her power to be the opposite of me.

It stings to go from having a child who worships you to one that seems to be annoyed by your breathing.

My youngest was next. Though I was prepared this time around, I was still sad and honestly pretty lonely. I’ve had times when I miss the younger versions of my kids so much I tear up.

I know other moms feel the same; it’s something I talk about with my friends often. Watching your child change when they become a teenager might be the hardest parenting transition you can go through and yet, I feel like we hardly talk about it.

Of course, your kids will always be your kids. They will always need you and you will always need them. Now a mother of three teenagers, I still don’t have any answers or words of wisdom to bestow on you. But I can assure you that being prepared — even and maybe because it hurts so much — is key. Good luck out there.

This article was originally published on